Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

N. Korea reports COVID cases, fires 3 ballistic missile tests

World May 12, 2022 03:16PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su 2/2

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) -North Korea fired three ballistic missiles towards the sea off its east coast on Thursday, South Korea and Japan said, in its latest tests aimed at advancing its weapons programmes, even as it reported a COVID-19 outbreak for the first time.

Three short-range ballistic missiles were fired at around 18:30 (0930 GMT) from the Sunan area of North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, where an international airport is located and where it fired its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Hwasong-17, on March 24, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The missiles flew approximately 360 km (224 miles), reaching an altitude of 90 km and a maximum velocity of Mach 5, the JCS said.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-han spoke by phone and condemned the latest launch as a violation of U.N. bans, the White House said, but the U.S. military said it did not pose an immediate threat to America or its allies.

Sullivan and Kim also discussed U.S. President Joe Biden's upcoming visit to South Korea, the White House said. Biden is due to visit South Korea and Japan from May 20-24.

The latest launches come amid concerns that North Korea may be about to resume nuclear bomb testing suspended since 2017. U.S. and South Korean officials have said this could happen as early as this month.

Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said the missiles flew about 350 km, to the maximum altitude of around 100 km, before landing outside Japan's territorial waters.

"A series of missile launches when the invasion of Ukraine is taking place is unacceptable," he told reporters, adding that Tokyo had lodged a protest against North Korea through its embassy in Beijing.

North Korea's 16th known weapons test this year came hours after it reported its first COVID-19 outbreak, declaring a "gravest national emergency" and ordering a national lockdown.

The launch was also the first since the inauguration this week of conservative South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has signalled a hard line against North Korea's weapons development.

Yoon's national security office said it "deplored the duplicitous conduct" of firing ballistic missiles and ignoring the plight of its people in the middle of a COVID outbreak.

But it said it would not link humanitarian aid to political differences and the new president's nominee as minister responsible for inter-Korean ties, told his confirmation hearing he would prepare humanitarian assistance for Pyongyang, including COVID treatment, syringes and other medical supplies.

Some analysts have suggested such aid could create an opening to restart stalled diplomacy with North Korea.

However, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said the United States has no current plans to share vaccines with North Korea and that Pyongyang had repeatedly refused vaccine donations from the COVAX global vaccine sharing project.

The spokesperson said that while Washington continued to support international efforts aimed at the provision of critical humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable North Koreans, North Korea "continues to exploit its own citizens and divert resources from the country’s people to build up its unlawful nuclear and ballistic weapons programs."

The official said Pyongyang had created significant barriers to the delivery of assistance by closing its borders and rejecting offers of international aid.

The United Nations said it was "monitoring with concern" reports of the COVID-19 outbreak in North Korea.

Deputy U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said the United Nations stood ready to help, although it had yet to receive any formal communications on the outbreak. He said that even before the global pandemic, North Korea had nearly 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

"We reiterate our call to allow the entry of international staff, including the United Nations Resident Coordinator, and the unimpeded entry of humanitarian supplies, to allow for a timely and effective response," he said.

In condemning the latest launch, the U.S. State Department said it remained committed to a diplomatic approach with North Korea and reiterated a call for Pyongyang to return to dialogue.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed late last month to expedite the country's buildup of its nuclear arsenal amid stalled denuclearisation talks with the United States.

N. Korea reports COVID cases, fires 3 ballistic missile tests
 

Related Articles

Russian missiles strike across Ukraine, says Kyiv
Russian missiles strike across Ukraine, says Kyiv By Reuters - Jun 25, 2022 1

By Max Hunder and Tom Balmforth KYIV (Reuters) - Russian missiles rained down across Ukraine on Saturday, hitting military facilities in the west and the north as well as a...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email